Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Your Future As a Circus Fat Lady

It's not easy to read Stephen King's reference to 400-pounders as "monstrous" in his nonfiction book, Danse Macabre. The assumption that all fat people would "be thin" if they only "ate right" and did everything as they were supposed to refuses to heed the human body's complexities. Societal stupidity and lack of common sense rules when it comes to obesity.

Generations ago, society tied extreme fatness to other so-called "freaks" --like dwarves ["Little People" today], three legged men with parasitic twins and two-headed [conjoined twins] babies. In the early 1900s, extremely fat people could make a living, based on their own exploitation. Part of the "freak show" required fat people to sit on big chairs or hauled around in trailers for public view. Many myths built around these people, who often exaggerated their weight in order to earn more money. [the cut off for circus material being around 450lbs].
The "side show" never really died, during the 1990s, we had different sideshows that gave brief glimpses into the super-fat person's world. Talk show hosts like Geraldo Rivera, Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones and Ricki Lake lined up large people on the television catwalk to be gawked at and stared at. Danny an 800lb man, became notorious for having Springer knock out a wall from his house--so he could get chest pains examined and get to a diet center. Jenny Jones had the super-obese kid parade.
But Danny's not the only corpulent person to have some brush with infamy. You can draw a red line from circus fat ladies like Dolly Dimples to Walter Hudson, the 1,000 pound New York City resident who required help from city firefighters after he fell into a narrow doorway and got trapped to today's shows like Inside Brookhaven Obesity Clinic on Discovery Networks and other shows like this one:

Here you see the giant amounts of food, plates of cookies, prodigious pizza eating with the incredible food intake as part of the show.

33,000 calories a day could be possible for some very food addicted person, [even that denotes severe physiological or psychological problems] but then the world over estimates the overeating required to watch one's weight rise and denies other realities. Bruce Snowdon in the book Shocked and Amazed, a 712 lb man that used to tour with a modern circus show, surmises..."I have a routine of how I eat 50,000 calories worth of food at a time. I probably only eat about twice as much again as you do. Instead of one TV dinner, I'll eat two TV dinners, but I don't eat 25 chickens and a barrel of beer, thirty pancakes, two dozen eggs, sixteen pounds of bacon, that could kill a sperm whale never mind a human being."

I know too well personally rocketing over a certain weight instantly puts you in the "freak show" category, though so many people are getting fatter in America, the "specialness" factor is diminishing. Normal fat people can go to the mall, buy clothes off the rack, dance at a club, and attempt to sit on folding chairs when that 400lb mark is crossed, life becomes very different. I wouldn't wish the eye-popping stares that I got when I crossed into the circus fat threshold on anyone. Going from large to circus lady fat in a matter of a few years, was an incredible mind-bender.

After this many years, I'm used to things but then after running from the big city ghetto where little differences or vulnerability gathered too much attention, I got spoiled living in a very friendly small town for almost 10 years where I was far from the fattest person once I lost that first chunk of weight. There would be at least 3 people on scooters near my size at the local Wal-mart. People got used to me, made friends, became part of the community. I ended up having to move due to economic reasons, but at least realized how life could be.

Over the years, observing the circus fat ladies, and our modern variation thereof, and thinking of how they are seen as their bodies first, one wonders what does that do to a soul? How many are actually allowed to tell the truth about what life is like? How many remain voiceless being in one of the most low status categories [most even poor and on disability] that exists in America? How many have been able to come to a place of dignity, amidst all the gawking, staring and jokes? I know that truth about obesity has been in short supply. America better stop the staring, gawking and wake up, because the numbers of super-obese are rapidly increasing to mind-boggling levels.


  1. I don't even know how it would be possible to consume 33,000 calories a day--I think I'd throw up long before that could happen! However, these people are in the minority and the DIE-t industry wishes to convince everyone that this is the way ALL fat people behave, which simply is not true.

  2. I couldn't afford 33,000 calories a day. I had a doctor claim I had to be eating 10,000 calories a day to be the size I am. I said I can't afford it. I would want to puke and probably would get asthma attacks/COPD trouble from my stomach being too fuel. Yeah they want everyone to believe this. I have known fat people and never see them eating more then thin ones. There are some eating addicted people out there, but when they are in recovery, they go to more normal weights. This doesn't happen for the other fat people.

  3. With food, sometimes to me it is even more of an annoyance. Like I am thinking now, I have to make dinner, but would rather be online, RIGHT NOW. You know what I mean? I do not have the hunger pain right now at least. I last ate 5 hours ago.

  4. Great article! The deal with being heavy is it only takes five hundred extra calories a day to gain a pound a week. Do that for ten years and you're going to weigh over 600 pounds!

  5. I was told by doctors, 10,000 a day is what it took, not 500 extra a day. If that was true everyone would be 600lbs, Americans are not all starving themselves including the thin ones.

  6. 10,000 for normal people, I laughed at that amount considering myself.

  7. A few months ago, I read that most people underestimate their portions, and therefore their calories.

    So I downloaded an app to track my calories for a month. Turns out I was overestimating, not underestimating. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

    Some days I ate pretty sparingly, on special occasions I ate more. My average over that month was 1300 calories a day. A good chunk of that was my 2 cups of coffee with creamer and sugar. (Do not speak to me in the morning before at least one cup of coffee. Don't even think of bringing up anything complicated before cup number 2. You have been warned.)

    Here's the thing: I am freaking BUSY. I am going all day. I live in a house full of people, 3 of them children, and I barely have time to sit down, much less chow down.

    I don't get where these numbers are coming from....